Recently, I have been involved in helping a friend seek out ways to make some important and necessary changes in her life (this includes seeing a trained therapist, not solely talking to me about things).
Throughout the process, I have been thinking about the human instinct to want to just fix things and immediately make them all better. I’ve found that sometimes when working on making positive changes in yourself, there can be this nagging feeling of urgency, like “Okay, let’s fix this, and make it all go away.”
Fixing things seems like the ultimate solution (i.e., my life would be so much better if this were fixed), but sometimes the instinct to want to “fix” it can add to the problem. The inevitable feeling of not having control over something I want to fix creates anxiety that can make me want to emotionally overeat.
I have come to see that with strong emotions and exploring your inner workings, sometimes things have to get a little bit messy before they get better. It’s sort of like ripping off a dirty band-aid and cleaning up a cut so that it can heal properly—it’s not the easiest thing, but in the long run will be so much healthier. Sometimes the “fix me!” feelings can inform you more deeply about things you should pay attention to. So you can use these feelings to learn about yourself and what is really going on.
Next time you feel discouraged because you just want your bingeing or emotional eating or body obsession to all to be fixed right now, maybe remember that recovery takes patience and time, and think about how that urgent desire is shaping your efforts to get better.
Have you ever wished you could be “fixed” instantly? Did that feeling of urgency make things harder for you? —Morgan